Hail a Cab in L.A. via Smartphone App with Flywheel

Rza at Bedrocktoberfest

These days, there are a ton of options when it comes to getting from point A to B without your car. With cabs representing the old guard, alternative Smartphone start-ups such as Uber (including UberX), Lyft and Sidecar are giving taxis a good run for their money – usability, competitive pricing, driver competence and friendliness not withstanding.

The taxi industry tried unsuccessfully to shut them out of business, and California’s Public Utilities Commission adopted rules last September on regulating these new companies. With L.A. also trying to get a hand in on regulation, it’s clear that the new services are operating on new battleground. This is all interesting, of course, but it doesn’t really play a part in what service I use. I just want a quick pick-up, ride at a great rate and a friendly, competent driver. And I want a free market to drive the realization of this. 

(Yeah, plus free $20 code for new Flywheel users after the jump. –>)

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Waylynn Lucas and Nancy Truman of Fonuts Demo Small Appliances at Best Buy

Demos at Best Buy Culver City

Last Saturday afternoon, the Fonuts gals performed a series of demos at the Best Buy in Culver City in efforts to promote the store’s recent expansion in their small appliances line as well as their own baked goods shop, Fonuts, on 3rd Street. It took all my self control and the need for a DSLR camera upgrade to not purchase any of the kitchen appliances Waylynn and Nancy highlighted – or the new, streamlined Dyson cordless hand vac. Adding fuel to the retail therapy fire was a 20% off promotion Best Buy was running…

which you now can take part in, yourself, since I’ve got a code to share that will get you the same savings on small appliances at Best Buy online after the jump. A KitchenAid mixer at 20% off, anyone?

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Sponsored Giveaway: Four One Year-Long L.A. Blackboard Eats Subscriptions

Credit to Mike Lanzetta on Flickr

Hallelujah!! Packers won Super Bowl XLV!!

In celebration and in collaboration with Blackboard Eats, I’m happy to be giving out four one year-long Los Angeles area Blackboard Eats subscriptions (valued at $20 each) to four lucky winners. The winners will be chosen at random from a pool of commenters who correctly answer this question:

What kind of car do I drive?

Whether you know me or not, the correct answer to this question is very easily found somewhere on this blog.

If you’re not familiar with Blackboard Eats, it’s only one of my favorite websites for discounts at restaurants around Los Angeles. Unlike pay-ahead services where the failure to show up is built into the business model, Blackboard Eats will give its subscribers a straight 30% off for using their code – just be sure to tell your server before you close out (and tip based on the pre-discount amount of the check). 

Recently, they started charging $1 per code (or $20 for unlimited codes for a full year, which is what you can win here) to recoop their administrative costs and to encourage those who rush to get the limited-in-supply codes to actually use them. Be sure to check out the upcoming specials on their website.

So, back to my giveaway. In order to be entered to win, put your answer to the above question in comments, while making sure to correctly fill in your email in the comment form (or sign-in via Twitter/Facebook accordingly and check those accounts on Friday) so I can notify you in the case you’ve won! The contest will close on Friday afternoon (February 11, 2011) at 4 PM, when I’ll pick the four winners at random. You must respond to me within the 36 hours thereafter or I will have to pick a runner-up.

Good luck!!

Strike the Deal, Close the Deal: Blackboard Eats Makes LA Noms Affordable

Roasted Crab at Shiro

Ever been to Susan Feniger’s Street? What about Shiro in South Pasadena? Are you jonesin’ for Mozza2Go? Maybe you’ve always wanted to try Grace without breaking the bank. Or perhaps you’ve been looking for an opportunity to try City Sip or The Foundry on Melrose.

Grilled Sonoma Lamb at Grace (Prix fixe menu)

Well now Blackboard Eats gives you good reason to try different eateries all around the city once per week, thanks to their decently-sized discounts and special offers. Angelenos and New Yorkers can sign up for the newsletter online while expecting to get notified of the latest deal – but don’t sit on it because you have 24 hours to get your own personal code (click “Get this special”) and 30 days to take advantage of the discount or special offer at the featured restaurant. Yes – those 30 days are pertinent. I have lamented with fellow deal-seekers about letting a few codes expire.

Since September, Blackboard Eats’ specials have always been solid. I don’t remember an offered discount amounting to less than 30% off – so customers don’t have to be wary of bait and switch tactics so often paired with introductory deals. Just remember to have your code – which you can have sent to your phone straight from the website – and to alert your server that you are there for Blackboard Eats. Forget your code? Log in to the website on your smartphone and they list all the codes for you in one place. Codes are usually good for dine-in only and for a maximum party of 6 – so you can rest assured your friends will also score when they’re out on the town with you. Win-win.

I’ve used several codes already – including at the aforementioned restaurants and have always come out pleased with the check, much less the food! So I can tell that the scouts over at Blackboard are doing great investigative work with the hip and happenin’ establishments in Los Angeles right now. Case in point – today’s offer is a $20 prix fixe dinner at Mercantile (only open since November) – and my second trip to the wine bar was just a couple days ago, when I found out they offer wifi. You still have a few hours to score the Mercantile deal!

A friendly reminder: Please remember to tip your servers on the basis of the full value of the check!! We want to continue giving our restaurants incentive to offer us great discounts; pay it forward.

Further reading:

Blackboard Eats gives foodies discounts at high-end restaurants – LA Times

Blackboard Eats Newsletter
Various restaurants and locations

@blackboardeats